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Day By Night (Daw Books, No. 408) Paperback – 1980
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
The planet did not rotate. One side eternal day, the sun shining down hotly from the center of the heavens. On the opposite side eternal night, the stars glowing cold in the black and airless sky. Yet the planet had been colonized. In ages past civilization had dug into the rock of the dark side and had thrived. Aristocrats vied with aristocrats, and the poor as ever, struggled to keep home and body together against the ever-encroaching cold surface. To keep the lower classes happy, Vitra, the storyteller, spun romantic sagas on the popular network. She imagined a strange world on the sun side, inhabited by men and women enmeshed in crime and love, schemes and intrigues. But had she imagined this?
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It is a travesty to me that this book has been so overlooked; I can only assume this is because it was one of her earlier works, and not discovered by enough readers to give it the acclaim it deserves. If you haven't read it, you are missing one of Ms. Lee's best flights of fancy.
I'm not going to give a plot synopsis, I'll only say that this is an amazingly detailed, subtle story that is crying loudly to be made into a film (Christopher Nolan, with his love of twist endings, would be my choice). If you are a Tanith Lee fan who has overlooked this novel, read it I beg you. Even for those who are not bona fide fans, or find her prose too complicated--this is an easy read--lyrical but slightly less obscure than some of her work.
This is actually two stories; in one the vapid Vitra is a Fabulast who lives on the dark side of the planet, and she is writing a story about the spoiled Vel Thaidis who lives on the light side of the planet. Or is it a story? After a crime is committed in each world, the stories strangely take on a life of their own - which is explained in the last chapter.
Definitely not Lee's best work, but you can see shadows of concepts explored more fully in other books, like the spoiled teens from Don't Bite the Sun (Starmont Hardcover Collection, No 1) and the evil (almost incestuous) twins of The Silver Metal Lover. She hints at the eroticism that is an integral part of her other works, but never delivers.
A planet divided into two worlds, light and dark. A series of characters typical of Lee's novels: the beautiful naive heroine fallen from grace, the sincere young man on a hero's journey, the mesmerizing black-hearted rogue, the conniving beauty taking advantage of others' misfortune, and, ultimately, those behind the scenes of this lovelorn drama.
Playing out within this setting are Lee's usual themes of sexual tension/erotica, sharp patrician dialogue, and vivid fantastical scenery which she writes so well. As is often the case with her novels, the plot sometimes takes a back seat to the world that Lee creates. However, in the end, this novel doesn't seem to hold up to its early promise. Wrapped up in a neat package, the last few chapter don't push as far as they might have and seem underdeveloped.
I'd recommend Day By Night only to the seasoned reader of Tanith Lee's work.
It is set on a planet which does not rotate, one side which is eternal day the other eternal night. The villainous Vitra Klovez is a Fabulast, royal story teller for the poor workers of the Subterior (basically a ghetto) whom she considers to be "worms". She tells a tale of the sun side of the planet, and for her own amusement uses people in her world as characters for her to toy within her imaginary one. Once character is Ceedres Thar who derives from prince Casrus Klarn in her world, she is in love with Casrus but he does not share the same feelings for her, for he sees past her beauty for what she really is: a pretty piece of tin. Therefore she makes Ceedres evil in her story, and her own replica of herself Vel Thaidis the heroine, but as you will find out it is really the other way around. Soon both the Fabulism and Vitra's world seem to be intersecting, and as is hinted you'll see that Vitra is not the one controlling the tale.
My favorite character in this story is Casrus Klarn, who's guilt for the pain and the suffering of the people of the Subterior, no matter how cruel they become, leads him to help them. To tell you the truth I'm unsure of how I feel about the ending, if I thought it was a cop out or not. However, this story kept me hooked through until the last page. A keeper for me.
in perpetual darkness. On the sun-baked side, we
learn of princess Vel Thaidis, who is victimized
by the conniving prince Ceerdres. On the planet's
dark side, snobbish, melodramatic princess Vitra
seemingly creates the story of Vel Thaidis via
"fabulism", a television-like technology used to
appease the lower classes. She is in love with the
kind and charitable prince Casrus. The early
chapters of this book play like a SF-obsessed
romance novel and are rather weak, and the "parallel
worlds" setup seems a bit gimmicky to start with.
Stick with it, though, as when we learn the fates
of Vel Thaidis and Casrus, the book improves
immesurably. The latter half of the book is highly
engrossing, and while the twist ending seems a little
contrived, it is still a worthwhile read. Probably
not recommended for a first taste of Tanith Lee,
but if you have already read and enjoy her work,
try this one.